Top 10 lies clients tell architect


Top 10 lies clients tell architect

…a logical sequel to my previous top-10 of architectural “lies”.



I love the way you lie.

I love the way you lie.

Eminem ft. Rihanna


Yes, once in a while architects tell their clients some harmless “lies”. On the other hand clients (investors, developers, builders and even officials) are constantly cheating and lying to architects about very serious issues, such as payments, deadlines, scope of work… just to name a few most “popular” themes. Often such lie is practically a fraud, maybe even a criminal act… Yet clients can afford it, as they are powerful and rich while architects/designers are poor and disorganized. So let’s see how “they” lie to “us


1. “It will be a beautiful project”

“The most banal, the most common, the most sincere lie.” Yes, I quote myself: the same way “our architectural lies” start… (here check the original – topic 1).

When architect says it – it sounds as a sad irony, professionals know how many obstacles are between the beautiful dream and the ugly reality. Client arrogantly lies to himself about it. And that’s what makes this self-lie super dangerous. When the ugly reality hits, client starts to blame everyone, and first of all architects, in not making “client’s wonderful dream” to come true.

I quote myself again: If your claim, Mr. Client, is true – we should be surrounded by “beautiful projects” only. The hideous buildings around us have nothing to do with the developers of course; it’s only architects’ fault…


2. “Money is not a problem”

Sometimes clients don’t tell it during the first meeting. But sooner or later when all of the sudden their “dreams” are met with some restrictions they will drop this irresponsible line. Don’t believe it! Money is always a problem. (The most hazardous situation is when you hear it from the client’s wife while discussing her bedroom design).


3. “This project will put you on the map”

Bullshit. Excuse my French. This project will put YOU on the map. If successful, the project will put on the map everyone, but architects. On the opening ceremony the developer will deliver the speech, the builder will get some governmental or municipal award, the interior designer will be mentioned in the glamorous magazines and architect… well architect is going to get some free finger food during that opening ceremony.


4. “You can make money on this project”

Bullshit again. And fuck that French. YOU will make money on this project. Tons of it. As for me, I’ll be happy just to be paid on time. Based on my ridiculously low fees my only hope not to lose money on your project. To make some money? I don’t even dream about it!


5. “You’ll get everything you need right on time”

Dirty double lie. You, architect, will NEVER get it on time. Actually you’ll get NOTHING. You’ll end up going to the engineers, to the authorities or to the land owners to get a required documentation promised by the client. Should I remind that it takes plenty of your time, dear architect, and you’ll never be paid for it. Somehow Client forgets his lie and automatically assumes that this was always your responsibility. No, it wasn’t! But I had no choice. I got a job to do!


6. “Our marketing team will be very supportive”

A modification of the same lie we tell you. (Yes – go and see our lie number 6…) Marketing team is your watchdog, a parasite whose only purpose is to make money by any means. The most effective means usually include an immediate castration of every creative idea proposed by those moronic architects. And nobody finds it controversial to the client’s statement in topic 1 about the “beautiful project”…  Pathetic!


7. “I am not going to be involved in your design decisions related to the esthetics “

Ha-ha-ha! Should I comment on this?… (It’s true for the first 5 seconds)


8. “We share common interest.”

Yeah, right… My interest is to design as professionally as possible while yours is to build it as cheap as possible and to sell it as high as possible. How is it common, dear Sir/Madam?


9. “We have a budget and we have a deadline.”

Ok, I respect this. Then why do you constantly change the budget increasing the marketing expenses and cutting on the important design issues of my job. Why do you constantly ask me to deliver the drawings prior to the deadline. You claim you need to review the drawings before the deadline. Another lie. You never do it; because once it’s reviewed you have to release the payment. I respect your budget and your timelines. So why you don’t give a shit about mine’s?


10. “Architect is the most important person in my project.”

A deliberate lie. You, my dear client, believe that the banker who finances you is the most important guy. Or a real estate firm which is  going to market your project… Or maybe those city officials that issue the approvals. But actually this might be the only TRUE you ever said. All those officials, bankers and agents are very important people. But they simply would not exist for you without architects naïve designs and not so naïve drawings.

So why did I put it as a lie? Well… because architect is not simply “the most important person” on the project. You are wrong!

Architect is a GOD. And that’s why we are always crucified.


P.S.  I love to conclude my “dead-serious essays” on some cool music tune. (Remember my “Why” ?). So this piece I’ll summarize with the super- hit “I love the way you lie”. Sounds good to me… See the lyrics? I guess Rihanna plays the architect’s role here, while Eminem is a client. Enjoy, yo…




More cool top-10 charts you can see here >>


9 Responses to “Top 10 lies clients tell architect”
  1. Fredo says:

    Oh dear, it sounds a little bit vitriolic! Good post though (however you need to correct a few typos & shouldn’t it be ‘clients tell architectS’).

    I remember being told that money in no object, it was the most unhelpful thing the client could have said because it gave us no idea of what we were actually being asked to produce. A year in to the design, after the credit crunch, it turned out money was a really big issue!

    • Albert says:

      Just “a little bit”? 🙂 …
      About the “architectS”. I took it into consideration before the publishing. (Singular vs. Plural). I’ve consciously decided to keep it as a Singular noun.

      A. Usually clients don’t deal with many architects simultaneously.
      B. I wanted to emphasize that “poor architect” is standing alone against the hordes of lying clients
      C. I’ve considered to put it as an “Architect” from capital “A”, but it goes again my topic “B” idea…

      I was told yesterday(!) by the client that money is not such a big of an issue… We’ll see
      P.S. Sorry for the typos, got it fixed. I appreciate the remark…

  2. Steve says:

    Fascinating. It doubles down an every stereotype I ever heard of vain, paranoid, self-serving architects. Are you guys all really that bad?

    • Albert says:

      Ever heard of word “humor”, Mr. Anonymous?

      • Steve says:

        I thought it was quite humorous. But humor, like most worthwhile creative endeavors, springs from truth. You chose the categories of architect behavior you wanted to have fun with. They’re very revealing.

        Here, you succeeded in achieving a little bit of truth, and right away, you’re trying to deny it. What a pity.

        PS: Ever hear of word “the”?

  3. Mike says:

    Albert – always amusing and poignant. Glad I follow you on LinkedIn.

    “Architect is a GOD. And that’s why we are always crucified”

    And the Eminem song – reflects the masochistic dance of the architect doing what he loves while the client abuses.

    Love it.

  4. Albert, Man, you are awesome, I thought these stuffs exists only in country like ours (India) till I saw your brilliant blog.
    My FB status now says: We, Architects are GOD. And that’s why we are always crucified.
    any funny, we don’t mind either.

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